So you can read my books

Sunday, May 28, 2017

WHAT YOU SEE IN THE DARK_ Memorial Day Thoughts

"For myself and thousands of other veterans across this country, Memorial Day 
is every day."
– Air Force Captain Joshua Carroll

Hemingway with Col. Charles 'Buck' Lanham in Germany, 1944,
during the fighting in Hürtgenwald, after which he became ill with pneumonia.

“Death is the mother of beauty. Only the perishable can be beautiful, which is why we are unmoved by artificial flowers.”
― Wallace Stevens

No American writer is more associated with writing about war in the early 20th century than Ernest Hemingway.

He experienced it firsthand, wrote dispatches from innumerable frontlines, and used war as a backdrop for many of his most memorable works.

“Throw away the light, the definitions, and say what you see in the dark.”
― Wallace Stevens

Researchers come to the Hemingway archives at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library

primarily to examine Ernest Hemingway's original manuscripts and his correspondence with family, friends, and fellow writers.

One object on display is far more consequential:

a piece of shrapnel from the battlefield where Hemingway was wounded during World War I.

Had the enemy mortar attack been more successful that fateful night, the world may never have known one of the greatest writers of the 20th century.

Conversely, had Hemingway not been injured in that attack, he not may have fallen in love with his Red Cross nurse,

a romance that served as the genesis of A Farewell to Arms, one of the century's most read war novels.

Hemingway kept the piece of shrapnel, along with a small handful of other "charms" including a ring set with a bullet fragment, in a small leather change purse.

Similarly he held his war experience close to his heart and demonstrated throughout his life

a keen interest in war and its effects on those who live through it.

War leaves no survivor untouched.

Data compiled from diaries and letters will affirm the presence of psychological disorders in soldiers who fought in the Civil War.

From this body of evidence,

it is clear that soldiers of the American Civil War did indeed suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychological disorders.

Until the 20th century little was known about the emotional effects of war on soldiers

and it wasn't until soldiers were studied psychologically that we began to understand what had happened to them.

The greatest glory of a free-born people is to transmit that freedom to their children. 
-William Havard

It was due to soldiers of the Vietnam war that the disorder was discovered, yet their symptoms had been synonymous with war veterans from hundreds of years before.

Veterans of war find it hard to be the same, emotionally, ever again.

Some may say that their inability to form close bonds with loved ones is due to the experience of near death and the fear that they will leave someone behind.

The emotional effects of war on soldiers very often hinders their future achievements too as they find it impossible to imagine or plan.

“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”
G.K. Chesterton

Who are you remembering today?
That’s the question for Memorial Day,
the day set aside each spring to honor
the men and woman killed in our nation’s wars ...

Men and women who wanted
to see their loved ones again

But wanted them kept safe even more.


  1. What a great Memorial Day Tribute -- signed Schizophrenic Roland. :-)

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